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March 28, 2002 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-28

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10A - The Mchigan Daily - Thursday, March 28, 2002

Sweet ace!
Victory for
Blue over
No. 4 Irish
By Brian Stee
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan men's tennis coach Mark Mees
stressed all week long that his players needed to
start believing in themselves. Regardless of their
opponen* he said they should always expect to
That competitive attitude propelled the
Wolverines (1-3 Big Ten, 10-5 overall) to their
biggest win of the year yesterday over No. 4
Notre Dame (1-0, Big East, 16-5) at the Varsity
Tennis Center.
Freshman Matt Lockin clinched the 4-3 deci-
sion at No. 2 singles with an impressive 6-4, 4-
6, 6-3 triumph over Notre Dame's Casey Smith.
"You have to believe that you're going to
win," Mees said. "It doesn't matter how talented
you are. It doesn't matter how gritty you are. If
you don't really believe when it gets down to
crunch time, you're not going to do it. I have to
give our guys credit. They came out and were
relaxed, and from top to bottom in every match,
they were relentless."
The Wolverines set the tone for the match
right from the start by taking two of the three
doubles contests.to claim the point. Lockin
and senior Henry Beam improved their record
to 14-1 on the year with an 8-6 come-from-
behind victory over Notre Dame's James Mal-
hame and Ashok Raju at the No. 2 spot.
Anthony Jackson and Greg Novak took advan-
tage of four service breaks at No. 3 doubles to
dispatch Matt Scott and Andrew Laflin, 8-5.
"The doubles point was huge," Mees said.
"When you're playing an eight game pro set, the
difference between winning and losing is real
small. There's no doubt that point gave us some

After years of waiting,

Mees gets
By Brian Steer.
Daily Sports Writer


With his team's 4-3 upset over No. 4
Notre Dame yesterday at the Varsity Ten-
nis Center, Michigan men's tennis coach
Mark Mees earned his first victory over
a top 10 opponent since arriving in Ann
Arbor two years ago.
But the milestone TENNIS
probably would not
have been possible Notebook
without some key
adjustments to the lineup. Mees moved
three of his singles players to new posi-
tions, which resulted in two critical wins.
Freshman Matt Lockin, who normally
appears at the No. 4 spot, jumped up to
the No. 2 slot and clinched the team vic-
tory with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 triumph.
Senior Ben Cox, Michigan's No. 2
singles star for the last two seasons,
moved down to No. 3 and prevailed
convincingly, 6-2, 7-5. In the last
change, sophomore Anthony Jackson
switched from No. 3 singles to No. 4,
but fell 6-4, 6-4.
"There were a couple of factors that
contributed to my decision," Mees said.
"Ben has had mono for some time now,
and (Tuesday) was literally the first full
day of practice that he's had in a while.
Anthony has been struggling a little bit
for the last week or so, and Matt's been
pretty solid for us all year. We felt confi-
dent about that matchup at No. 2
because Matt had beaten the same guy
earlier in the fall."
LOCKED IN: Lockin's victory yesterday
marked the second time this season that
the freshman has clinched the deciding
match for the Wolverines. In February
against Tulsa, he prevailed 6-2, 5-7, 7-6
(3) over Dustin Taylor to give Michigan
a 4-3 victory. But just like in his match

top-tO win
against the Golden Hurricane, Lockin
was not sure yesterday if his outcome
would be the difference between the
team winning and losing.
"Once again, I wasn't sure that it was
coming down to me," Lockin said.
"When everyone came over at the end
and every point seemed like match point,
that's when I first thought that it might
be up to me.
CLASS ACT: Despite his team's tough
loss, Notre Dame coach Bob Bayliss was
very gracious in his comments about
"Michigan deserves a lot of credit,"
Bayliss said. "They took this match away
from us. I was very impressed with their
spirit and comraderie, and with how hard
they fought and played."

Overcoming a bout of mononucleosis that he's had since Spring Break, senior Ben Cox won his
match at No. 3 singles over Notre Dame's Aarom Talarico 6-2, 7-5. Michigan won the match 4-3.

momentum heading into the singles."
Beam played arguably his best tennis of the
season at the No. 1 singles spot, rolling past
11th-ranked Javier Taborga 6-2, 6-2.
"Right after I got that first break in the open-
ing set, I felt like I was going to win the match,"
Beam said. "My serve and volley game was
really clicking, and it didn't seem like he could
handle it."
Still recovering from mononucleosis, Ben
Cox didn't find out that he was playing until 8
p.m. Tuesday night. But the senior captain didn't
show any signs of fatigue, as he overpowered
Aaron Talarica from the baseline at the No. 3
singles spot to earn a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

"I felt really good out there," Cox said. "For-
tunately, my forehand was really strong today,
and I think adrenaline carried me through in
the end."
With Michigan'needing one more point for the
win, Lockin broke Smith's serve with a backhand
winner down the line to secure the upset. That
spurred all the Michigan players onto the court,
where they mobbed the-freshman hero.
"It was a great feeling," Lockin said. "I can't
really compare it to anything else that I've felt
before. The only other similar type of competi-
tion that I experienced was when I was playing
junior tennis, and when we won then, it was
nothing like this."


Michigan's Chris Shaya teamed with Brett
Baudinet and lost at No. 1 doubles, 9-8 (2).

Even at 1-3, Spartans
are still a 'big match'

New force:'Williams
Tennis Association'

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer

If you ask most Michigan students
how they compare to their East
Lansing counterparts, chances are
they will say there is nothing they
share in common. But in terms of
the Michigan and Michigan State
womens' tennis teams,
the comparisons are hard
not to notice. EAST I
Michigan (1-3 Big Ten, Who: Michiga
7-6 overall) travels to Michigan Stal
East Lansing tonight and When:6 p.m
returns to conference play Latest Energ
after picking up two vic- young stars,
tories against Conference State will hop
USA opponents last second BigTE
weekend. an equally-tal
The Spartaus (1-3, 9-7) gan squad.
have shared the Wolver-
ine's struggles in the Big Ten and have
a very young roster like Michigan.
These similarities will add fuel to the
fire of this rivalry, which has been
dominated by the Wolverines over the
past decade. Michigan has won 14 in
a row and swept the scoring in the last
two matches.


"I don't care what sport or what's
on the line, Michigan State is a big
match," Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt
said. "We've dominated the series in
recent years, but this is the most com-
petitive team that Michigan State has
put on the court in years."
The Spartans are more competitive
as a result of their youthful players.
Both Michigan and
Michigan State have five
NSING underclassmen playing in
1-3,7-6) vs. their singles matches.
1-3, 97) V According to Ritt, the
Spartans have begun to
d by its move up in the ranks of
chigan the Big Ten because of
to eam its the players that coach
win against Tim Bauer has brought in
ted Michi- since his hiring two sea-
sons ago.
"They are significantly
better," Ritt said. "They are more
competitive and much improved over
last year."
In the four Big Ten matches both
schools share against common
opponents, each team has its lone
conference victory against Minneso-
ta and three losses at the hands of

Little sis takes another crack at
Venus Williams today, this time with
lower stakes and less hype but lots
of incentive.
Serena Williams, who has beaten her
older sister just once in six meetings,
will try again in the semifinals of the
Nasdaq-100 Open.
Their most recent showdown came in
the U.S. Open in September, when
Venus won the first Grand Slam final
between siblings in 117 years. From the
New York spotlight, the rivalry moves to
the Sunshine State with Serena eager to
beat Venus - but not desperate.
"I'm not looking for an unfair advan-
tage," Serena said, laughing. "We have
connecting rooms, but if I see her it's
not like I'll try to bump her, or hit her,
or maybe put a pillow over her in the
middle of the night."
Serena, seeded eighth, has been
the more impressive Williams en
route to the semifinals. Yesterday,
she routed two-time champion Mar-
tina Hingis 6-4, 6-0.
But No. 2 Venus has won 22 consec-
utive matches on Key Biscayne. She
missed the 2000 tournament because of
injury, but won titles in 1998, 1999 and

Kavitha Tipimenl, one of Michigan's six underclassmen, will faceoff against the
Spartans and their five freshman. Both teams are 1-3 in the Big Ten.

Illinois, Northwestern and Wiscon-
sin. Additionally, the two teams
share victories against similar non-
conference opponents.
With the match tomorrow, the
Wolverines have a short week for prac-
tice. As a result, Ritt wants to cram the
normal week-long routine for weekend
matches into three days - cutting prac-
tice time for each drill in half.
Along those lines, junior Jen
Duprez hasn't been able to practice
this week. Duprez injured her hip last
weekend in Milwaukee. As a result,

Ritt is modifying a lineup that has
seen little change this season. This
would be the first time all season that
any player has sat out a match due to
an injury.
The Wolverines conclude their four-
match road swing on Saturday with a
trip to Wake Forest.
The No. 2 Demon Deacons (3-0
Atlantic Coast Conference, 15-2),
the toughest opponent left on the
schedule, will provide great test
before Michigan finishes out the Big
Ten season.

V -,

Eloquent Power

Serena's best finish came three years
ago, when she was runner-up to Venus.
"Hey, one of us is going to be in
the final again," Serena said. "So
that's a guarantee, and we're both
really excited."
Their mercurial father and coach,
Richard, complained that the tourna-
ment cheated itself by putting Venus
and Serena in the. same half of the
draw, a chance occurrence that pre-
vented the sisters from playing each
other in the final.
The elder Williams also suggested a
new name for the WTA Tour.
"I think it's the Williams Tennis AssQ-
ciation," he said.
Hoping to prove otherwise is No. 1-
seeded Jennifer Capriati, who earned a
semifinal berth by beating Tatiana
Panova 6-2, 6-0. Tonight Capriati will
play No. 5 seed Monica Seles, who
advanced by defeating No. 4 seed Kim
Clijsters 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Williams vs. Williams matches
have often been unsightly family
affairs, with both sisters lapsing into
nervous, erratic play. That's been
especially true for Serena, who over-
powered opponents before self-
destructing against Venus at last year's
U.S. Open and at Wimbledon in 2000.
Each defeat left Serena in tears.
Sibling psychology may explain such
ragged performances, especially since
the sisters are also best friends, but they
reject that explanation.
"Serena hates to lose, no matter who
it's to," Venus said. "I don't think she
gave me any matches."
So might it be Serena's turn to wia?
"It's my turn to stop making so many
errors," Serena said. "It's all on how
many errors I'm going to make and
how many she's going to make. I'm just
really ready to compete. I've been play-
ing very well."
Hingis can confirm that. She hit just
four winners to 34 for Williams, who
won the last seven games. Shots
whizzed past as Hingis stood helpless
and motionless with no time to react.
"I just didn't stay with her," said
Hingis, who won just six points in the
second set. "It was difficult for me to do
anything. You know, she was hitting
winners from all over the court."
Hingis said she felt fine during the
match, but later she withdrew from dou-
bles, citing plantar fasciitis in her right
foot. The more likely reason was a
bruised ego.
The drubbing was another sign of
decline for Hingis, who has slipped to
third in the rankings after 209 weeks at
No. 1 and has lost three times in a row
to Williams. When the players met at
the net for a postmatch handshake,
Williams gave Hingis a consoling pat
on the back.




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With a win yesterday, Serena Williams
advances to the semis of the Nasdaq-100.
- O
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Cosponsored by
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